Most DCHS and Wildlife Center services are by appointment only, including reuniting lost animals, surrendering a pet, wildlife rehabilitation, and more. Adoption visits are first-come, first-served. We recommend checking our current waitlist prior to your visit.

Our professional, certified dog training instructors use their up-to-date, extensive knowledge of humane and effective training methods to teach you how to train your dog. Our training classes offer clear, simple, and fun instruction, along with plenty of practice time with individual coaching. Clip that leash on your dog and come join us!

Puppy Preschool (ages 8 to 18 weeks)

Register for Puppy Preschool

Canine Kindergarten (ages 4 to 6 months)

Register for Canine Kindergarten

Good Dog! Fundamentals (ages 6 months and older)

Register for Good Dog! Fundamentals

Canine Explorers Workshop

Register for Canine Explorers

Dog Training Class Details

  • The first class for Puppy Preschool, Canine Kindergarten, and Good Dog! Fundamentals is for people only. Please arrive to the first class without your dog to learn behavior and training fundamentals to help you in class when you bring your dog.
  • In-person group classes are held in the Training Room at DCHS (5132 Voges Rd Madison, WI 53718), except for Canine Explorers Workshop, which is held in the Barn at DCHS.
  • A $10 discount may apply if you adopted your dog from DCHS. For the coupon code, please email DCHSdogtrainer@giveshelter.org.

Questions? Please email DCHSdogtrainer@giveshelter.org or call us at (608) 838-0413 ext. 258.

Training Class Policies

Participants will be asked to agree to the policies below when registering for any DCHS Dog Training Class.

Cancellations

Training class fees are nonrefundable.

COVID protocol

All people must wear a mask while inside our facility and socially distance themselves.

Dogs that shouldn't attend classes

Dogs that are aggressive towards people; dogs that cannot safely be controlled on-leash in close proximity to other dogs; and dogs that are unable to stop barking at other dogs for the duration of class are not permitted in class.

Health & Vaccinations

I certify that my pet is current on his or her vaccinations for Bordetella, Rabies, and Distemper, and is currently on a flea prevention program. I also certify that to the best of my knowledge my dog is free of parasites, internal and external, and free of communicable diseases. I agree to NOT BRING my dog to the building or grounds of Dane County Humane Society if I know or suspect that my dog is ill. If my dog is too young to have been given all of these vaccinations, they will be administered at the appropriate age. I will keep my dog current on all such vaccinations, titers or other vaccine-related recommendations made for my dog by my veterinarian, while attending Dane County Humane Society’s classes.

Risk & Injuries

I understand that being around dogs and participating in activities at Dane County Humane Society involves risk of injury to my dog and me. In consideration for being allowed to participate in classes and other dog training activities, I accept these risks. I accept full responsibility for the acts of myself, my dog, and my guests while attending these classes. I understand that Dane County Humane Society cannot be held responsible for any injury caused by me or my dog, or to me or my dog, and I release Dane County Humane Society, its employees, members, and volunteers from all claims of liability, for injury, disease or damage that I, my guests, or my dog may suffer or cause while on the grounds of Dane County Humane Society.

Photo Release

I also agree that Dane County Humane Society may photograph or video my participation in any of the dog or puppy training classes and I hereby release any such photographs and/or videos to Dane County Humane Society for its use in programs, publications and other purposes.

Meet Our Dog Trainers

Nikki Darga, CPDT-KA

Nikki has loved animals for as long as she can remember and dogs have always been a large part of her life. Nikki started training dogs more formally in a competitive obedience setting with her chocolate lab, Kona. Nikki and Kona were able to show for five years, winning many blue ribbons in the process. Nikki has worked with dogs in other capacities, such as at a dog daycare and boarding facility. A certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA), Nikki has been involved with DCHS dog training classes since May 2016. Nikki has a tiny senior Chihuahua named Mabel, several cats and a few other pets that she loves to train and spend time with.

Clarinda Arsenault, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA

Clarinda graduated with distinction from the Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partners program, and is a professional member of Karen Pryor Academy and Professional Pet Guild. She has had the good fortune to be taught and mentored by many highly-skilled animal trainers. Committed to providing the most effective, convenient solutions to her clients’ dog training needs, Clarinda avidly pursues continuing education and professional development by attending several seminars per year and keeping current on industry literature. Clarinda thrives on helping dogs and their people strengthen their bond through positive reinforcement training and an understanding of dog and human behavior. When not helping clients to enjoy fulfilling lives with their dog friends, Clarinda trains her own two dogs, and loves going for long walks with them in the woods and fields of Wisconsin.